Ian Crawford Talks in Orlando Florida

posted by admin on December 4, 2011

Dr. Ian Crawford, Design Lead for the Astronomical Target module for Project Icarus talks about the choice of target star system for an interstellar probe. Ian makes a strong case for full deceleration in the target system due to the much impoved scientific returns from an interstellar rendezvous mission.

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One Response to Ian Crawford Talks in Orlando Florida

  1. JohnHunt says:

    I am very encouraged (and suprised) at his mention of full deceleration. His science arguments for this makes a great deal of sense. It is interesting that the arguments don’t have to ride entirely on exobiology having been pre-identified (atmospheric observation) but can rest on geology alone. My guess is that there will be no evidence for microbial life within range so geology will be the main scientific rationale.

    However, technically, full deceleration increases the design challenge considerably. This could be done with a fusion-fusion approach but that would increase the mass of the initial craft considerably. And if the deceleration would be done using beamed propulsion of a smaller science package then this would beg the question as to whether beamed propulsion had been advanced sufficiently to consider using that method at launch and so eliminate the need for fusion and a huge craft altogether.

    Also, if we are going to decelerate and land on exoplanets using technologies from the late 21st century (at the earliest) then I would have to question whether we would want to limit ourselves to scientific observations only. Biomedical technology, robotic technology, and nanotechnology should be sufficiently advanced to make one consider including a colonization component to the program. Especially this would be true given the exposure of the human race to such advanced and potentially dangerous technology for the 40+ years that Icarus would be traveling.

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